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36 Retail Statistics for 2024: Ecommerce, Merchandising Stats, & More


  • What happens when you play classical music in a wine shop? 
  • Which type of independent retail store hit a 10-year high in 2022, and did it maintain it for 2023? 
  • Do window displays still matter? 

We’ve rounded up 36 interesting UK retail industry statistics (plus a few from further afield), along with proven merchandising facts and surprising scientific outcomes. Read on to find out the answers to the questions above (and 33 others!).


36 Retail statistics



5 UK Retail statistics on trade and growth

What's life for UK retail, and UK retailers, in 2024? These retail stats give a brief insight into which types of retail stores are thriving — and how 'bad' weather can impact everyone:

  1. In 2023, the total number of retail outlets in the UK was 306,340
  2. It’s estimated that non-food UK retail sales volumes fell by 2.3% in April 2024 versus March 2024, with poor weather weather to blame ☔
  3. Let’s hear it for our bookselling pals: the number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland hit a 10-year high in 2022. 
  4. And while the number of bookshops then fell slightly in 2023 (from 1,072 to 1,063), it’s still a remarkable increase from 867 in 2016, which was a record low.
  5. While the total number of retail stores fell from 2022 to 2023, the number of bakeries and delis increased. In 2023, there were 3.3% more ‘bread & bakery goods production businesses’ than there were in 2022.


10 Footfall and retail merchandising statistics

When you enter a shop, you may think you have free will. But actually, there are greater forces at play. Retail merchandising is about more than just making your shop look pretty; it's about making it easy for customers to find what they're looking for, encourage them to browse for longer, and putting your best products in the best spots. Here are 10 stats that prove the power of merchandising:

  1. Now here’s a stat we can definitely relate to: over 70% of people claim to be more likely to shop in locations which play music they enjoy — although what they want from their shop music differs; apparently ‘women often prefer oldies, pop, and R&B in their shops, while men frequently prefer rock, blues, and bluegrass.’
  2. Sticking with the musical theme, this fact was a real highlight of our research: a scientific experiment carried out in a wine shop showed that classical music influenced customers to spend more money, with the classically-serenaded shoppers choosing pricier bottles of wine.
  3. Turns out we’re judging shops by their covers. 52% of us won’t return to a store if we don’t like the aesthetics 💅
  4. Research has indicated that window displays influence purchases an average of 24% of the time.
  5. 90% of people turn to the right when they first enter a shop, with most then continuing to browse in an anticlockwise direction. 
  6. A merchandising hack we love: shoppers scan horizontally to find product type, and they then prefer to find the specific product by scanning vertically. 
  7. 41% of independent brick and mortar stores claim changing working patterns (namely the increase in working from home) have led to reduced footfall.
  8. Eye level really is buy level: apparently you’ll capture most attention with products placed 14.7 inches below eye level and upward to eye level.
  9. But what is eye level, we hear you ask? For very tall people, it’s around 1.8 metres. For wheelchair users, it’s around 1.15 metres. For most, it’s somewhere in the middle.
  10. The end of aisles (‘endcaps’) get around double the number of people walking past them compared to down the aisles, making them prime product promotion real estate.

📚 Bookmark for later: 20 Visual Merchandising Tips & Best Practices for 2024


11 Online shopping statistics

For years, we've been hearing that ecommerce is poised to take over in-person shopping as the most popular method. But how do people prefer to shop online, and how often? And what holds them back from completing their orders? Here are 11 online shopping statistics we found interesting:

  1. 29% of sales are expected to take place online by 2026.
  2. Pick a channel, any channel! …or don’t, that’s fine too. Two thirds of us prefer omnichannel shopping, with 66% of shoppers saying they ‘felt happiest’ shopping a hybrid of both in-store and online. 25% picked in-store only, and 8% said online only.
  3. Clothing is the product type that’s most frequently purchased online
  4. Amazon accounts for 37.8% of ecommerce sales, giving it the highest market share of any ecommerce company. 
  5. 79% of shoppers shop online at least once a month. Some of us are on first-name terms with all our local delivery drivers, but that's a stat for another day. 
  6. Mobile cart abandonment rates are higher than desktop ones: 84% of people abandon their shopping cart on mobile, and 72% abandon their cart on desktop. Get those abandoned cart emails scheduled or updated, stat! 
  7. High shipping costs are the most popular reason for cart abandonment, closely followed by ‘discount code not working’. Check your discount codes, double stat! 
  8. 81% of us do some online research before we buy something🕵️
  9. 23% of all ecommerce orders are fulfilled using dropshipping. 
  10. 83% of weekly Pinterest users have made a purchase based on content they discovered on Pinterest. We’ve always said it was an underrated channel!
  11. Need a hand? Millennials and Gen Zs prefer to deal with chatbots as a support channel 

📚 Bookmark for later: 17 Abandoned Cart Email Examples for Ecommerce Brands



9 Sustainability and 'shop small' retail statistics

How important is sustainability to both brands and buyers? And has the shift towards 'shop small' and 'shop local' survived in a post-lockdown world? Here are nine encouraging statistics about sustainability in retail across generations, and the wider impact of shopping small:

  1. 93% of independent UK retail businesses described sustainability as a focus for the next 12 months. 
  2. 44% of global consumers are more likely to purchase from a company with a strong commitment to sustainability.
  3. 65% of major retailers say they’re using more sustainable materials now than they were a year ago.
  4. Show me the value; 83% of millennials expect brands to align with their values. 
  5. 75% of sustainable products sell better online than in stores.
  6. Sustainable shopping isn’t just for Millennials. According to a 2024 survey, 40% of Gen X and 38% of Boomers would be willing to pay more for products that are sustainably sourced and packaged
  7. Of those who shop primarily with small businesses, 43% do so because the ‘quality and service is better’
  8. Local retailers retain 289% more revenue for the local economy than chain stores, showing the wider positive impact of shopping both small and local
  9. 79% of independent retailers engaged in some form of the community activity over the past year

📚 Bookmark for later: Sustainability & Independent Retail: What We Know



Who is the biggest retailer in the UK? 

The UK's top retail spots are dominated by supermarkets, with Tesco currently holding the largest market share. 

What's the total value of retail globally? 

In 2023, worldwide retail sales hit $29.29 trillion, and are projected to grow this year to $30.57 trillion.

How many people work in retail?

At the end of 2023, approximately 3.57 million people were employed in retail in the UK.

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